Friday, July 17, 2009

Continental, I Can't Stay Mad At You

Hi. I'm back from my week at home. I have to tell you all about it, and I will. But I'm going to do this all backwards and start by telling you of my flight home.

I mentioned last week how United is a terrible airline and how if they were a person who was ever-so-slightly shorter than me, I'd punch them in the face. Well, they screwed over my sister on her flight back to L.A. from Syracuse, and she had to fly out Monday morning instead of Sunday night. They are jerks. Jerks!

And because nothing ever goes right when one is flying, I was worried when my father dropped me off at the Syracuse airport. I just wanted to get home and get there as soon as possible. I was scheduled to come in at about 10:45 am, which meant I could meet my friend for brunch and then have the whole day to unpack and unwind.

Guess how well that worked out.

I had a connecting flight in Cleveland, with a nice, short 50 minute layover. I got to the gate in plenty of time and waited, somewhat impatiently, as it neared closer and closer to our departure time and we hadn't been called in to board the plane. Finally, they made an announcement. One of those really awful ones that ends with a collective groan from 210 passengers.

"Flight 735 with service to Los Angeles will be delayed. There is a part on the plane that needs to be repaired, but we have to fly it in from Newark. It should get here by 11:30 am, and then of course we'll still need to do the maintenance...So expect delays of at least 3 hours."

The time of this announcement: 8:50am. Outstanding. Not to mention, I didn't care much for the idea of flying on a newly repaired plane. You know how sometimes at home you hang a framed picture or a shelf on the wall, and you fiddle around for 20 minutes and finally you think you have it set and you take a step back to admire your work...and then 3 minutes later it all comes crashing down? I pictured that.

So we were given $6 meal vouchers to go use in the airport to keep ourselves busy while we waited. That was nice enough, I guess.

Within an hour we had an update. The repairs would take too long and so they would need to fly in a new plane for us. But this one would have 30 fewer seats, and also wouldn't arrive until 12:30. After the announcement, I got away from the gate before anyone could bump me to another plane.

After many long hours of waiting at the bar, sipping a bloody mary and listening to two loud groups of Vegas-bound travelers make complete assholes of themselves, it was time to get on our new, smaller plane. I was miserable.

But then they gave us vouchers for 10% off a future ticket purchase AND made us fill out this other card that is mailed in and for a bigger cash voucher (amount TBD).

And there's more! Free headphones (I thought they were always free but I guess not) and free booze! Everyone was in a much better mood by the time we boarded.

From there, things were even better. They gave us sandwiches and salads and M&Ms. I can't remember the last time I was provided with actual food on a plane.

All of the seats had their own individual TVs, much like JetBlue, but instead of satellite programming we had 40 movies to pick from. I spent my flight sipping wine and watching A Streetcar Named Desire.


It may have been a terrible delay, but the flight itself was fantastic and relaxing. Continental, you found the key to my heart. Free stuff!

We finally got to LAX at about 4, which put us in at just the right time to hit rush hour traffic on the way home from the airport. I didn't actually get to my apartment until 6pm. Okay, so 7 hours later than I'd planned, but such is life.

What's that? You'd like to see another picture of Mr. Brando, but with more sweat? Sure. I aim to please.


Felicia said...

Holy shit! That is a nice make up gift. I've never seen anything close to it for my delays.

Phil said...

I was flying American Airlines once and, after we'd all boarded the plane, they informed us that take-off would be delayed because they needed to redo the sealer on the main door to the plane. You know, because without it, all kinds of air would rush in and we'd get sucked out like dust through a vacuum. Yeah, totally not disconcerting at all.

Next time that sort of thing happens I'm going to mention this story and demand free booze.

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